THE AIRING OF GRIEVANCES

“I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it. You, Krueger, my son tells me your company stinks!”

-Frank Costanza

Ahem. If everyone could find their seats and stop making so damn much noise…….thank you. I’d like to start with the positives for this calendar year and there indeed positives about the Oilers organization. Six items stand out for me during 2012:

  1. The return of MacT, early June. As an unabashed MacT believer I marked the day with two beverages and considered it a high water mark. For me, MacT gives the Oilers an intelligent voice in the room, a veteran hockey man who can not only offer wisdom but perhaps frame the discussion in a way that allows everyone to buy into new and innovative ideas. I think MacT’s influence has already been seen on this club–perhaps even at the draft–and that the logical elements of last summer (many discussed below) appear to have a clarity and vision we haven’t seen in a long time. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this hire, but MacT is certainly a man who has the ear of Kevin Lowe and Daryl Katz, the two most important men in the organization.
  2. The drafting of Nail Yakupov. We know based on the Oilers own news network that Ryan Murray and Griffin Reinhart were in the conversation, and we know that the Oilers badly “needed” a defenseman of the future who could help in a big way. However, the best player available on the evening of the draft was a fleet Russian winger with a brain and a motor. There are all kinds of rumors that have flown around since then (notably Katz stepping in and insisting on Yakupov over Murray or Reinhart) and I doubt we’ll ever know the actual facts of the day. Bottom line the club made the wise decision and won the day. Coming behind the successes of the 2008-2011 drafts, Yakupov’s addition means that the Oilers have so much firepower the offense should flow freely during the mid 10′s. I’m going to miss those insane scouting reports every summer, as I very much doubt the NHL is going to configure the draft balls in a fashion that allows the Oilers within a country mile of Seth Jones. Still, if Yakupov is the cap on the cluster, well hell ladies and gents we’ll raise a glass and consider it a good damn day.
  3. Named Ralph Krueger head coach. The European coach from Steinbach Manitoba could sell ice to the Eskimos and his own special brand of enthusiasm and intelligent verbal went over like sunshine on a cloudy day in Edmonton. Elliotte Friedman remains the authority on thought for the Oilers coach courtesy a brilliant 30 thoughts that heavily featured Switzerland’s answer to Lombardi. Friedman on Kruger: He explained that he liked Jordan Eberle with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner with Ales Hemsky. That not only allows him to move Hall around the lineup, but also rotate others depending on the situation — Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Ben Eager and potentially even Shawn Horcoff on the wing. I’m really curious to see this. This stuff fascinates me. Ralph is another big brain, and in my opinion (along with MacT) suggests we might be seeing the Katz business mission statement (hire good people to run the business) on a long play.
  4. Winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes. As a bookend addition to the Yakupov selection, this defined the summer of ’12. Justin Schultz may not be a defensive stalwart (we don’t know that) but appears to be a dynamite puck mover and powerplay demon. If he can handle a second pairing role on the Oilers (pretty much guaranteed on a team hellbent on an annual shortage at the position) Schultz could push Yakupov and other’s for the Calder award. Hell, he may have already won the ROY in the American League and it isn’t even Christmas. A possibly mammoth addition to the cluster.
  5. The Petry signing. An insanely good deal for the organization and an overlooked one. That player at those dollars is an incredible number. Two years at $3.5 million dollars gives the Oilers an extreme value contract with a cap hit under $2M for the next two seasons. Crazy at the price.
  6. Signing Taylor Hall to an “outer marker” deal. When the club chose to sign Taylor Hall to that 7-year, $42 million dollar contract it did two things: sent a clear message that the Oilers have a deal to use as a hammer when the Nuge, Yak and other contracts come up, and I do think it also tells the fanbase that the window of opportunity is probably the final five years of this deal. If the Oilers waste these 7 years of Taylor Hall, it’ll represent one of the monumental fails in modern hockey history. That contract represents the Katz era, volume two. I can’t think of a better candidate for the money.

Now, the things that drive me nuts about the organization.

  1. The mixed messages over the Dubnyk deal. Edmonton signed Dubnyk to a 2-year, $7M deal. I wrote at the time the dollars seemed high, but others showed me it was in line with a goalie of Dubnyk’s experience and quality. DD earned the contract from January 2012 on, performing very well and leaving little doubt about the #1 goaltender for the future. HOWEVER, in a late October interview Kevin Lowe suggested the dollars spent on goaltending did not in fact mean the situation was settled. Lowe: “Goaltending is a question mark, and I say that in all respect to Devan Dubnyk and Khabi (Nikolai Khabibulin). Khabi has been injured and he’s approaching 40. He’s given us stretches of strong goaltending but his health is one thing.” Dubnyk is trending upward, Lowe said, “but he’s got to go out and prove it now if he’s going to take over the Number One job.” Source is David Staples. What the hell? You hand a guy $7M and there’s still a question? The Oilers would be spending over seven million dollars on goalies in 12-13 without a lockout, and the #1 hockey man comes out and says goaltending is a question mark? After handing your top option $7M? I wonder how Ken Holland would have handled this goaltending situation, and I do think it’s an organizational ‘hitch in their swing.’  I keep expecting the club to commit to Dubnyk but in the back of my mind worry they’ll bring NK back or give Tim Thomas a 4-year deal. It isn’t the smart play, but I do believe it’s in the Oilers playbook.
  2. Signing Lennart Petrell. Nothing against the Ginger Finn, hell you know I love the Finns and what they represent as hockey players. However, for a roster dying for veteran mentorship and NHL quality play at evens, our man Lennart is not the perfect fit. Anaheim signed Daniel Winnik for a million more than Petrell and now have a wonderful addition to their roster. Not to bring the Red Wings into this again, but the Detroit hockey club collects Daniel Winnik’s by the carload because they realize the value of a veteran role player. The Oilers–despite having MacT on the management group–missed the boat with Petrell (although they did hire Ryan Smyth again and that is a very good thing).
  3. Didn’t do enough to address defense. The last time I slept well pondering Oilers defense was after the trade deadline 2006. And you know it used to be a strength, or at least it was something fans didn’t have to worry over. Edmonton a decade ago had better depth but the Oilers of today seem to fool themselves every summer into “this guy can step up” or “we should be healthier than last year on defense.” And then the sun goes down and Andy Sutton is gone and Laddy Smid is wobbly and on and on it goes. Edmonton Oilers teams of the 2000′s START with a myriad of question marks and then step into the elevator shaft from there. Ryan Whitney’s health, Sutton and Smid on the limp, players who are not yet established like Schultz the younger, Peckham and Potter are slotted alongside Petry and Schultz the elder and its expected to hang together? I’m hoping coach Krueger won’t stand for a ‘everything works if you let it’ solution to the defensive worries.
  4. The Gagner deal. Why one year? I think Gagner has done enough to be signed to a longer term, and unless you unload the clip on the contract he’s going to be tradeable long past his 25th birthday. For me, not signing Gagner this past summer tells me the Oilers are going to end up dealing him–and that’s fine I guess, but I’m not confident they’ll get one hundred cents on the dollar. I always felt Kevin Lowe saw Sam Gagner good, but that contact suggests otherwise.
  5. The general arrogance of the organization. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it in the 80s and was in there like a dirty shirt as a fan (my father-in-law, a wonderful man who has since passed, once hung up the phone on a night when I was especially full of piss and vinegar–Oiler fans in the 80s were a vicious bunch, or could be anyway) during the glory run. However, when Steve Tambellini or Kevin Lowe speak I always get the feeling they are just waiting for the kids to develop and that their jobs are basically over. Bull Durham! This team is in extreme need at backup goalie, top 4 defense and bottom 6F. ALL of those things have to be solved by the GM at some point in time but the Oilers remain pretty much intact year over year. I’d like to see some humility in their words and some action in addressing their weaknesses–not just another mention of the prospects bubbling under. The prospects will arrive eventually, but expecting Oscar Klefbom or Martin Marincin to step right in does no favors to the early portion of the Taylor Hall contract.
  6. The arena negotiation. I don’t really have much to say, except that time has run out and Daryl Katz has lost the collective empathy of the common fan. Forever.

So that’s it. I’m really not that upset this year, in my opinion the positives are real and spectacular and the negatives are solvable and so obvious they’ll have to be addressed in order to succeed. I love the Schultz-Yakupov additions, think Krueger is going to be terrific and of course MacT is a guy I believe in as a hockey guy.

Happy Festivus to you! I leave you with a song guaranteed to be new to your ears but hopefully you like it. Merry Christmas, be safe.

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28 Responses to "THE AIRING OF GRIEVANCES"

  1. sliderule says:

    QED Lowetide

  2. lazerguidedmelody says:

    As much as we’d generally agree that the Oilers are in an upward trajectory, we won’t know if this is merely reading the runes in a certain fashion, or a dead cat bounce, until this season (or any season) actually begins. There’s still so many intangibles, from the gaps in the roster as mentioned above, to the hive-mind management that still appear to talk in spin and riddles whenever they’re interviewed (anyone else not truly understand the specifics of MacT’s role, or how that plays against the Lowe/GM axis?)

    It’s sure an interesting time to be an Oilers fan; I just hope that “interesting” is a positive, and not a Chinese curse.

  3. BlacqueJacque says:

    Still kinda wishing we got Cooper from the Admirals, and about damn time the Oilers organizational blogosphere started plainly stating how badly Katz blew the arena deal.

  4. Darcy says:

    Whenever I read Mr. Lowetide mention Winnik, I see the picture from NHLPA media sessions of a tanned Winnik looking very much like he enjoys being able to live in sunny California. Today as I look out my window I wonder if at this point in his career if he wants to play here. He was a free agent who gets to pick his team and different players will have different priorities. Besides look how good the Belanger signing turned out for the Oilers. Hoping for a free agent like Winnik to fill those holes in the line up exposes the weaknesses in the professional scouting department. Why can’t the Oilers find those gap fillers before they hit the open market?

  5. LMHF#1 says:

    You misspelled Jordan Eberle in positive point #6.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Nah. Hall was signed 8 days before Eberle and set the bar. If Eberle had been signed first I would have listed him. Honest. Love Jordan Eberle.

  7. hunter1909 says:

    Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 million dollar contracts ensures stability in a situation that appears to be needing 3 more contracts just like them.

    Does anyone agree that MPS appears to be a first class defensive prospect? How Many games did Mike Peca go without an Oiler goal? Similar, if not the same type of player.

  8. JohnnyRocket says:

    Great song LT. The Gagner signing bugged me, too. I remember Gregor (?) interviewing him after the signing and Gagner saying that it was up to him to prove himself over the year of his contract. It bothered me because it seemed that was the message he was receiving from the team and in my mind he doesn’t have anything to prove. Does he have room to improve? Sure. But he plays well with talent and plays with heart (6 fights in 5 years). This was an opportunity to sign him up long term at value and management whiffed on it. If he scores a tonne when play resumes, he might be priced out of our team and the window to lock him up long term will have closed.

  9. gr8one says:

    Good Read, as usual LT.

    Not to hijack the thread, but in my boredom last night and with the word “decertification” flying around everyone and thus all of the speculation of a possible(if not improbable) free agent free for all in the future, it got me thinking….

    If I were a GM and had a pick of the litter and were building a realistic looking team, (ie: not four lines of superstars and a payroll of a bazillion dollars), what would it look like?

    Well for shits and giggles I used capgeeks fantasy calculator and based my team on what salaries and salary cap would have been for this season, the following is what I came up with.

    I tried to leave my heart out of it and so note the lack of Oilers, and I went for size, strength, skill, but also players that have a defensive conscience too…

    My Custom Lineup
    FORWARDS
    Milan Lucic ($4.083m) / Ryan Getzlaf ($5.325m) / David Backes ($4.500m) 
    Taylor Hall ($3.750m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Dustin Brown ($3.175m) 
    Max Pacioretty ($1.625m) / Martin Hanzal ($3.100m) / Ryan Callahan ($4.275m) 
    Steve Ott ($2.950m) / Sean Couturier ($1.375m) / Cal Clutterbuck ($1.400m) 
    Bryan Bickell ($0.542m) / David Steckel ($1.100m) / 
    DEFENSEMEN
    Shea Weber ($7.857m) / Kris Letang ($3.500m) 
    Alexander Edler ($3.250m) / Ryan McDonagh ($1.300m) 
    Ladislav Smid ($2.250m) / Jared Cowen ($1.265m) 
    Deryk Engelland ($0.567m) / Travis Hamonic ($0.875m) 
    GOALTENDERS
    Jonathan Quick ($1.800m) 
    Jhonas Enroth ($0.675m) 
    ——
    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS
    SALARY CAP: $70,200,000; CAP PAYROLL: $66,838,810; BONUSES: $4,150,000
    CAP SPACE (24-man roster): $3,361,190

    Now how’s that for a team that’s hard to play against??

    I know I’d be interested to see what some of you masterminds would come up with your own versions…and if LT wouldn’t mind this indulgence perhaps you could post them here as well.

    Thoughts?

    If anyone cares to play, here’s a link to the calculator.

    http://www.capgeek.com/fantasy-calculator/

    Happy Holidays all!!

  10. Lowetide says:

    All’s fair in love and lockout, Gr8ONE! I’ll go over later and just try to sign the kids! :-)

  11. alice13 says:

    Elvis Costello did a nice homage to RoadRunner with Radio Radio
    The theme
    The R-words title,
    and finally, in salute, capping the song with the same outro.

    At least that’s my take, check it out.

  12. VOR says:

    One of my grievances is the Oilers peformance at the draft this year (particularly Moroz’s selection). I love the kid and think he might well be a real player eventually but it still seems intuitively wrong to me to take that sort of player where the Oilers did. ST said recently they were looking for 15 goals, 150 penalty minutes from the kid which seems like they picked him to be a 3rd liner. This is an ongoing grievance as the Oilers have a nasty habit of drafting coke machines ahead of talent, trying to get that mythical “3rd liner” that can anchor a run at the Stanley Cup.

    So where do “3rd liners” come from. This is my second attempt at this analysis and I am still not totally satisfied with it. That said, here goes.

    On this pass I went back and used the criteria I and LT discussed for “3rd liners”. Top 6 toughest minutes in terms of Rel Corsi Q of C for forwards, top 4 forwards on the PK. I added my own criteria of top 6 in toughness of OZ start for forwards on your team. I didn’t worry about minutes played, but you did need to have played over 40 games.

    I only found 87 “3rd liners” currently playing in the NHL. It is worth noting that 7 of those lie just outside part of the selection criteria (below I talk about the Detroit situation). Several teams had coaches who made MacT look like he always rolled out the same 4 lines every game. In other words it was very hard to tell who was truly doing the heavy lifting.

    Then there were the oddities. Detroit for example only had one player who made the cut, Pavel Datysuk. After a lot of internal debate I settled on Cleary, Helm and Miller as the Detroit 3rd liners but none completely made the criteria (though all three were very close). So there is some bias in my picks.

    There was also confusion surrounding people like Paul Gaustad who was traded to Nashville, and Daniel Winnick who was traded to SJS during the season – where do you count them? I settled on with the team they ended up with. I think, however, most of the people on the list would be consensus “3rd liners.” The teams where I ended up with blanks were CBJ who only provided Dorsett and Russell to the list, Buffalo (sans Gaustad) where I picked Gerbe and Kaleta and Montreal were I picked Moen and Eller.

    Of the 87 there were a remarkable 30 first rounders and 8 that were undrafted. Of the 79 players that were drafted the average draft selection spot was 82, the median was 62, and oddly the most common single draft selection was 10 OV (4 of the 79). The range was from 2nd overall to 287th overall.

    In their 1st draft eligible year (all 87) their NHLE averaged 10 goals and 25 points. The median was 11 and 29. In terms of absolute goals in their draft eligible years they averaged 21 with a median of 22 and a range from 0-50. There were actually only 2 players on the list who had 50 goals in any single year of junior – Ryan Smyth (50 the year he was drafted) and Daniel Cleary (he had 53 the year before he was drafted).

    43 were playing for teams other than the one that drafted them (49.4%), 35 were playing for the team that drafted them (40.2%), 8 were undrafted (9.2%), and 1 (Ryan Smyth) was back playing for the team that drafted them (1.1%). Since the end of the year two of the very best “3rd liners”, Brandon Sutter and Jordan Staal have changed teams thus changing the numbers slightly.

    Of the 43 that were playing for new teams 23 were signed as free agents and 20 were traded. The trades were often multi-player and complicated but on average the cost of acquisition by trade of one of these players is a second round draft pick – 51st overall.

    There were a couple of failed scorers like Daniel Cleary. However, many were like Ryan Smyth – career scorers on the downhill side of their careers but still productive players. There were a handful on the way up, already good enough in their own end of the rink to be playing the hard minutes (Sean Couturier and Gabriel Landeskog). Several were superstar offensive talents who over time have taken to playing the toughest minutes as well (Getzlaf and Perry). There was the odd weird one like Michael Frolik who never projected to be a star scorer, then put up good numbers in the NHL only to slide back towards the sort of numbers you’d expect based on his pre-draft career. He plays some seriously tough minutes now and scorers occasionally.

    Most of the players on the list of 87 were drafted for character, toughness, leadership, and defensive skill set, well some combination thereof – like Shawn Horcoff. Nobody projected guys like Tanner Glass to be NHL super star scorers. Many have come through US college hockey. You see this reflected in the average age of these players when they play their first NHL game (22 years).

    Overall, looking at last year’s draft I’d say that Moroz was a reach pick, though not as much as I would have assumed before I did this analysis. 13 of the 87 on the list were taken between 21st and 41st Overall (14.9%). These 13 players did however average 25 goals in their draft season. Both Khaira and Zharkov are much more typical “third liners” in terms of draft selection and goals scored and NHLE’s for these sorts of players.

  13. Lowetide says:

    VOR: Excellent job, that’s a solid look at it imo. I was not pleased with the selection of Moroz but was somewhat heartened after talking to Kirk Luedeke of Redline (he told me Moroz had improved his draft number through the spring) and then Copper and Blue did a nice look at comps here

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/8/17/3248413/mitch-moroz-comparables

    Reynolds is an exceptional writer, and I think he framed the issue beautifully with that last sentence.

    So I’m back to being not pleased. :-)

    I’m a fan though, cheering like hell for him and wishing him to do more with the puck. That’s not a lot of help to young Moroz, however.

  14. gcw_rocks says:

    I view the Mactavish signing as a low point. The organization needed fresh ideas and MacT isn’t going to bring them. His return also coincides with the return of drafting coke machines. Bad move we will all regret.

    The Gagner signing was smart. It buys them a year to decide if they want to go all in, or cash him in. I would have been fine if they signed him long term to a reasonable deal, but after that 8 point night I doubt his agent was recommending reasonable.

    The Schultz signing was by far the best moment.

    It’s way to early to tell on Krueger. I wouldn’t count him on either side of the ledger yet.

    Letting Hall play in OKC was also, IMO, dumb. Best thing for Hall long term probably would be resting that shoulder as long as possible.

    Happpy holidays all!!!

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    alice13:
    Elvis Costello did a nice homage to RoadRunner with Radio Radio
    The theme
    The R-words title,
    and finally, in salute, capping the song with the same outro.

    At least that’s my take, check it out.

    Interesting pick…

    a classic version:

    http://videosift.com/video/Elvis-Costello-Radio-Radio-SNL

    not sure about the homage… but definitely great tunes… both nice for the lead-foots out there.

    LT,

    I would add to your grievances #2 and 3 the summer of nothing… someone wanted us fans to think something big was (and maybe is still) coming out of the draft (maybe during, maybe after… but soonish)

    that pissed me off… there were players available and deals to be made… they seemed to get that something needed to be done, but accomplished nothing… maybe nothing good came up, maybe it’s still en route…

    but the leaks of something coming, with deals available and no action, ticked me off.

  16. Oiler_Kiwi says:

    Best wishes to evryone for the festive season.

    Big thank you to all your quality articles Lowetide.

    You’ve lessened the pain of the lockout for this Scottish based Oilers fan.

    O_K

  17. DeadmanWaking says:

    MacT believes that however you build a team, it needs an answer for when the other coach instructs his players to “take the game to the boards”, as nearly every opposing coach did when the team was smurf central. MacT went to the cupboard of counterplay options and found one Pancakes Penner determined to keep his nose out of the syrup.

    Puck battles: Hockey’s most underrated non-statistic
    Don’t mess with Old Man Strength

    Draft Requisition Form

    To be submitted by coach under extreme need as verified and endorsed by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission.

    [ ] Muppet with wings
    [ ] first shot sniper
    [ ] goaltender with six limbs
    [x] Other (please fill in): old man strength

    Signed: C~~~~g MacT~~~~~h
    Countersigned: Dr Shunsuke Kondo

    [K. Lowe's office, the next day]: Can anyone read this? Looks properly endorsed. WTF? There’s a letter missing. Gold man strength? Hold man strength? Cold man strength? Whatever, strength is strength. [Calls to assistant] Hey, add “Paul Bunyan” to the procurement list, would ya. [Crumples memo into can.]

    [Scout's office next week]: Paul Bunyan? Shit, it’ll be years before we need to dedicate an entire pick to moving guys like Lucic out of the paint. These management guys need to learn to keep their powder dry. I said that last year and the year before. Enough with fighting a losing cause. Crap. Hey, I know. Just to be safe, we’ll get a big guy who can also skate, maybe with some upside to actually take a pass.

    [Training camp, next season, MacT to himself]: New guys are looking a little grim today. Maybe we should run the middle-linebacker drill and imagine just how great this group could be playing hockey with no puck and no opponent. Huh, still no sign of “old man strength” despite my priority requisition. Kevin must be working the phones like a man possessed. [Notices drill in progress] Whoa, nice cut block. Right athlete, wrong sport. Why they keep drafting these lummoxes for a hockey team is beyond me. Still no one out there who can tilt the boards. This is shaping up to be another long year. Hurry, Kevin, hurry.

    Personally, I don’t think MacT ever wanted a coke machine.

  18. gcw_rocks says:

    All draft day evidence to the contrary, for pretty much his entire tenure

  19. art vandelay says:

    I hope No. 6 is true (though I doubt it; hockey fans tend to be low self-esteemers who need local pro hockey to feel like an adult).
    It would be better if Katz had lost the ear of council. But a generous spreading of lettuce at re-election time will solve that issue – and I will be on the hook for hockey fan’s d!ck extensions.

  20. Lowetide says:

    Art: We’ll see. The mayor is 67 years old and the council has some restless climbers. The election is next year and this time it’ll be a 4-year term. imo this mayor burned a lot of favors to get the deal that the Katz group liked so much they boarded a plane to Seattle.

    If they don’t get it done soon, I don’t think you’ll need to worry about building a Katz arena. Suspect he’ll be very motivated in the new year to make it so, though.

  21. alice13 says:

    Romulus:

    thanks for the link. though I had to try a few other places to actually find one of that SNL ver that would run (I’ve seen the other later one before)

    As to the nod to roadrunner, it’s the outro, everything else is just corroborating evidence. No way Costello falls into that by chance, it’s a little tip of the hat. Then you work backwards and find the other parallels. This Year’s Model is just an awesome record, you break the seal on that one and there’s no getting it back in the bottle. A live one, that is.

  22. Lowetide says:

    costello was a breath of fresh air, no doubt. I bought the first album (My Aim is True) and played the hell out of it (“Alison”) but you’re right This Year’s Model jumped off the vinyl. Those two albums along with Armed Forces and Get Happy are my favorite Costello records.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Oh, and King of America for Suit of Lights.

  24. DeadmanWaking says:

    The point of my post is that group dynamics often conspire to produce results that no-one involved would represent as “what I wanted”.

    MacT liked Grier and he liked Big George, when his legs were going. He complained that if too many penalties were traded, Big George would cool off and he couldn’t slot him back into a regular shift. Both of those guys could tilt the boards on a good day. I suspect MacT also liked Bill Guerin. He nearly jizzed over how precisely the Orbs of Power Who Shall Not Be Named timed his outlet pass to the smallest fraction of a second.

    Factor in circumstance. There was the EIG team. The main cheque in that era was the reality cheque. There was the post-lockout team, built to succeed in the playoffs and stronger than it looked until the late-season airlift because of the three-headed goalie vortex of doom. Then there were the scorched-earth “five asset” teams permeated with whale-hunting insanity.

    In only one of those years do I have any confidence MacT received most of the players he wanted to have.

    MacT had his faults. I think he went to the well on up tempo forcing-the-play too often in the regular season, which contributed to the far too routine coming-out-flat public floggings. I don’t think he ever figured out that he played mainly on teams so loaded with skill they could look good dragging their tails, but not so much the teams he coached in a league with higher fitness levels than ever. I suspect teams that trapped were rewarded with a more consistent effort level (and better sleep).

    He probably contributed to the Horc overpay, though in retrospect, the overpay was often measured against a reference point of wishful thinking: that any players out there better than Horc (and similarly versatile) would be Loyal to the Oil at a less mercenary pay grade.

    I listened very hard for MacT to expose himself as anything other than sharp. He never did that I recall. Sometimes his frustration boiled over and he did the kinds of stupid things that a very smart man at the end of his rope might do as an act of suicidal desperation. Many great generals in history had their moments. It does things to a thinking man, to try so hard to no effect. He made one confession in my recollection to a consistent coaching error: dwelling too much on the last performance. He did kind of believe in the snowball effect that the best way to have a long streak was to start a short streak. That’s awfully hard on the nerves as a way to punch your ticket into the post season.

    I think MacT was a full pay grade better in the playoffs than the regular season (the playoffs properly reward balls-to-the-walls whistle to whistle). Pity about the one-night stand.

  25. Lowetide says:

    That’s an outstanding read on MacT imo. He had flaws (PP, and you mentioned sway) and then of course he’d Toby Petersen the PP in order to make a point. I learned a ton about 5×5 from MacT I’ll say that much. And for a guy who people claim wouldn’t go out on a limb for offense he sure had a few one dimensional types along the way.

  26. nelson88 says:

    I have little doubt MacT is a very smart man in general and has an excellent hockey mind. If I actually knew him, “good person” would also likely be in the mix.

    Having said that I was glad when he left and I am cautiously optimistic on his return. It was pretty apparent he was burnt out and yes, he did not always have the ideal team that he would have picked. Unfortunately the latter is a reality of leadership in the vast majority of situations and those that are good at it find a way to adapt or make a conscious decision not to and step aside.

    He found himself migrating from a very smart hockey coach to being irritable, a know it all and overly critical in his comments. To his credit I think he recognized it and knew it was time to leave. With a recharged battery I think he can be an important part of the puzzle.

    A very similar situation is currently unfolding with both Gillis and Vigneault in Canuck land.

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    alice13:
    Romulus:

    thanks for the link. though I had to try a few other places to actually find one of that SNL ver that would run (I’ve seen the other later one before)

    As to the nod to roadrunner, it’s the outro, everything else is just corroborating evidence. No way Costello falls into that by chance, it’s a little tip of the hat. Then you work backwards and find the other parallels. This Year’s Model is just an awesome record, you break the seal on that one and there’s no getting it back in the bottle. A live one, that is.

    hmm… all the versions I know seem to end with the classic rock fake-fade-burst-end… the yelling of “radio radio!” at the end is somewhat reminiscent of “got the am… radio on!” but I wouldn’t force it much.

    that said, I think there’s a strong enough case to say Elvis was circling the same subject, beat, song structure and call and response chorus as Richman and may well have been tipping his hat…

    on a somewhat related issue… check this out.

    about three times a year I watch this amazing Floyd video for Echoes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGwPSPIhohk

    from this whole version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOtBMTzWDm8

    My fiancee isn’t much of a Floyd fan and usually regales me with a sharp “Again!?” Until one day she recognized the melody.

    As a kid she was obsessed with Phantom of the Opera (I got over that revelation… slowly) and was determined that Floyd ripped off Douche-Webber…. so we did a comparison and sure enough… same melody… to a T:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FmGtCIOwB4

    cross-check with the Echoes video above around the 3:50 mark.

    Crap was I pissed… how could they borrow from that hack!

    I was even more pissed when I realized it was the other way around… and Douche-Webber simply lifted his central melody from Floyd… thereby tainting millions of listeners to the pure Floyd experience with his juvenile abstractions into the barely and blandly morose and melancholic.

    Yeah, the beginning of that bloody Phantom song is from Echoes. *DAAAA-da-da-da-da-da*. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. It’s the same time signature—-it’s 12/8—-and it’s the same structure and it’s the same notes and it’s the same everything. Bastard. It probably is actionable. It really is! But I think that life’s too long to bother with suing Andrew fucking Lloyd Webber.[8]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echoes_(Pink_Floyd_song)

    so… there’s another (annual unfortunately) grievance… Douche-Webber ripped off Floyd!

  28. misfit says:

    I just popped in to echo LT’s 5th grievance…emphatically.

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